When I first lived in France at age 20, I discovered the secret of the savory tart from a woman who was a master at turning the contents of a near-empty fridge into dinner every single night. Fabienne would cook for her own two girls in addition to me and not only was she gracious about my vegetarianism, I daresay, she embraced it. I try hard not to make too many generalizations about the French, but it's fair to say that welcoming a vegetarian lovingly to your table is far more the exception than the rule. I've lucked out more times than I count.
Eight years after my first tarte aux poireaux, the savory tart is still one of my favorite foods. If you've been reading these tea leaves for any length of time, you know this. I've written about several variations on the theme and I hope you'll forgive me the repetition, I haven't tired quite yet.
My New Year's resolution #9853 is to open our tiny space to more guests in 2013 and I'm counting on savory tarts to get me there. The savory tart is the perfect meal to share with guests because it's easy to prepare ahead of time and you can get all of your dishes out of the way while it bakes. For friends who enjoy cooking up their brussels sprouts in whatever animal fat they can find, there's always an option to include a hearty dose of meat, but I find that even the meatiest of friends enjoy a good vegetarian version without complaint.
A few weeks ago I made this version for The Neighborhood: caramelized onions and sauteed mushrooms topped with fig goat cheese and thyme. Full recipe, here.
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